Mahatma Gandhi's unique take on sex, chocolate and whisky

Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated across the nation today to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. One of the biggest political figures in India's struggle for independence in 1947, Gandhi was the man behind the Satyagraha movement and the civil disobedience, based on non-violence.

On Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary, as we pay homage to 'father of the nation' for uniting the people and spearheading the freedom movement here's a look at his statement on what he thought about sex.

A renowned birth control activist Margaret Sanger visited Mahatma Gandhi in 1935, as part of her tour of India. In their conversation, Gandhi told Sanger he regarded all sex as "lust". He told her of his own marriage, saying the relationship with his wife, Kasturba, had become "spiritual" after he "bade goodbye to a life of carnal pleasure".

In the interview to Margaret Sanger, in December 1935 (which has now been reproduced in The Penguin Reader, edited by Rudranghshu Mukherjee), he said, “But I know from my own experience that, as long as I looked upon my wife carnally, we had no real understanding. Our love did not reach a high plane. There was affection, of course, between us. Affection there has always been between us but we came closer and closer the more we, or rather I, became restrained. There was never want of restraint on the part of my wife. Very often she would show restraint, but she rarely resisted me although she showed her disinclination often. All the time I wanted carnal pleasure, I could not serve her. She would be a fairly learned woman today if I had not let this lust interfere with her education. She is not dull-witted, but it takes all one’s resources to drive home a lesson. I had plenty of time at my disposal to teach her before I became involved in public affairs but I didn’t take advantage of it.”

He further added that, "When both (man and woman) want to satisfy their animal passion without having to suffer the consequences of their act it is not love, it is lust. But if love is pure, it will transcend animal passion and will regulate itself. We have not had enough education of the passions. When a husband says, ‘Let us not have children, but let us have relations,’ what is that but animal passions? If they do not want to have more children they should refuse to unite. Love becomes lust the moment you make it a means for the satisfaction of animal needs, it is just the same with food. If food is taken only for pleasure, it is lust. You do not take chocolates for the sake of satisfying your hunger. You take them for pleasure and then ask the doctor for an antidote. Perhaps you tell the doctor that whisky befogs your brain and he gives you an antidote. Would it not be better not to take chocolates or whisky."

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